Monday, July 06, 2015

Praying for my enemies

We started doing a Bible Study with some friends last night. It was nice. We are using the Discovery method. We thought the book of Philippians would be a good place to begin - because it's about joy and stuff.

Right away I was struck by verses 3-5:
I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you, always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.

It made me think about how - here was Paul, in prison, going through all these hardships, and yet he could pray with joy for others. For some reason I started thinking of the places where Jesus says we are to 'love our enemies and pray for those who mistreat us'... Gah!

Oh, I think it is right on. Jesus is correct. He is The Way, after all. So, when I woke up around 4:30 this morning I decided I was going to try praying for my enemies. I can remember preaching about how this was one of the best ways to get over being mad at someone. I tried... I did. But the truth is... I just couldn't do it. Ugh. My heart is hard, and I am still so bitter.

My prayer today will be asking God to do for me as he said in Ezekiel 36:26:
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

Help me, Lord.

Saturday, July 04, 2015

I miss those scripture choruses

I suppose I grew up as a person, and a follower of Jesus, during some rather unsettling musical times in the church. That period from the 1970's into the current millennium - to many in christendom known as the time of "the worship wars" - could be seen as 'very bad', or 'very good,' depending on how you look at it.

I actually thought it was a pretty good time. Personally, I love the great old hymns. I was also discipled through countless home-group praise chorus sing-a-longs. And, I am not so crotchety as to be resistant to the wonderful new music being written nowadays.

While I will agree that there are many "contemporary" hymns and choruses that are really just bad theologically, I would have to think there were just as many OLD hymns and choruses that were bad too - they just didn't last. I doubt too many of the bad ones now will last either.

I guess what I was thinking about today (the day I wrote this)... As I was driving to work I started singing some old chorus that we used to sing in our home bible studies. I don't even recall the name of it now, but there were a whole slew of them that were short, simple, and really nothing more than Bible verses put to music. We had gads of Maranatha and Hosanna songbooks full of them. I used to love when we would gather in the living room and sit in a circle and sing those songs accompanied by guitar, or without. I wonder just how much Scripture I learned from singing those simple choruses??? They certainly stuck in my head. Way more than any sermons did!!

So, while I do like some of the current popular church music, and I do miss some of the great old hymns, I really miss those simple "scripture choruses" (if that's even what they're called). I think a lot of people are missing out on a lot of good stuff by not knowing them. Of course, I also miss the home group thing...

"Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts." -Colossians 3:16

Friday, July 03, 2015

Results of the 24-day challenge

So... yesterday ended our Advocare 24-Day Challenge. We started it back in early June. I had hoped to lose 10-20 pounds. And... not so much. I started off well - averaging about a pound a day the first week - and that's about all I ended up losing (~8 lbs).

I must confess, it wasn't all the fault of the diet though. I followed it pretty strictly at first, but around Father's Day I slipped on the food and drinking. Otherwise I didn't have any problem with the food part - it really wasn't any different than our normal diet. The biggest issue for me was the alcohol. I discovered it was more of a problem than I thought. I really only drank beer a few times, but some changes are definitely in store for me. I will write about that later. I also wasn't able to exercise the way I wanted to. Part of that was due to being sick, and part of it was my own laziness.

I will say this, though, even though I didn't lose as much as I wanted to... it's amazing how much better I feel just losing those 8 pounds. I've actually thought about starting it over, but I think I'm going to try some other things instead. I still want to drop another 10-15 pounds over the summer. Actually, I kind of NEED to if I want to do the things I want to do. So we'll see. I'm trying not to get too fanatical about it, but it will require a life-change regardless. Which I think really is the sign of a successful diet: it's not how much weight you lose, but whether it results in any long-term life change. In that regard... yes, I'm glad I did it.

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Car serviced - new place

I took the 2002 Buick Century to get serviced yesterday, as well as have a tire patched. It's the first time since we moved to Indiana that I've paid for an oil change! The tire was $9.50, and as a first-time customer I got the "Best Value" service & inspection for $21.95. Altogether it was $34.35. I didn't think that was too bad.

We had always taken our cars to a place on the south side of town. They were members of the church I used to pastor, and they never charged us for oil changes. They are also some of the nicest people on the face of the earth. We will still take our cars there, but it is just a tad inconvenient for me to do so since I work on the north side of town and rarely have a day off during the week.

My "low tire" light came on as I was driving home Tuesday night, and it was the rear passenger tire. I pumped it up in the garage, but noticed this morning that it had a nail right in the center of it. I was way overdue on an oil change anyway - I was actually planning to have Jane take it in when she's off work in a couple weeks - but I just decided to take it to the place right by where I work.

Berger Auto Service has a really nice shop on Diebold Rd. right around the corner from me. I took it over and they said I could wait or they could give me a ride back to work. I chose to walk instead - it only took me 10 minutes. It was done in about an hour, and later on I walked back and picked it up. I liked that.

While I still prefer going to Yeoman's on the south side, it's nice to have this place right here too.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

The bible on paper

I love how Eugene Peterson phrases 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in The Message:

There’s nothing like the written Word of God for showing you the way to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. Every part of Scripture is God-breathed and useful one way or another—showing us truth, exposing our rebellion, correcting our mistakes, training us to live God’s way. Through the Word we are put together and shaped up for the tasks God has for us.

I have about a million bibles at my house. Yes, this picture is my actual "stack of bibles" (and is even missing some). Most are different translations or versions, but some are duplicates. However, I admit that I have lately relied mostly on my iphone for my bible reading. I really like the YouVersion Bible app - I recommend it over any other for it's ease, accessibility, and variety of free versions. That's what I use in church on Sunday mornings, because, let's face it, it's easier to carry; and they usually put the text up on the screen anyway.

However, I still prefer a paper bible for reading and studying. Not just holding an actual book in my hand, or laying it on the table in front of me, but so I can see everything else that is around the particular text I may be looking at. I think using a paper bible helps us keep things in context better, because it allows for easier visibility of the surrounding text. 

My favorite versions are: NIV (though I preferred the 1984 version to the current one), CEV, NLT, and The Message. Sometimes I actually like some of the wording in the NKJV too.

Not that there's anything wrong with any other methods of reading the bible, but I just think I will always prefer the paper kind. Though, honestly, I will also use electronic one's as well. It's all good.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Resentment is rong

I wish I could chalk this up to not feeling well too, but this past Sunday I found myself being a little... resentful.

Towards the end of the worship gathering they had a time of prayer. The speaker on this day asked people to come to the front who were willing to... I don't even recall now what it was... but people started coming towards the front of the room. I guess they wanted prayer, or they were saying they were open to something (or whatever)... And to be perfectly honest, my first thought was, "Yep, most of them are the same people who do this sort of thing every time they do it." Then I started being annoyed with the worship leader who seemed to be trying a little too hard to look like a rock star. Then I started to resent the people who were losing themselves in prayer and singing and supporting and encouraging one another... Yes, I am that bad.

What in the hell has happened to me?!? I know it's wrong to resent people for being in love with Jesus and having a bunch of friends they can worship and share with; I know it takes time to form new relationships; I know Jesus never once told us that following him was going to lead to a happy sappy awesome life... But I miss feeling like things are right with the world. I miss being part of a "family" (regardless of how dysfunctional). I miss belonging, and loving, and being loved.

I also know that it's nobodies fault but my own. And that it doesn't matter. And there are so many people so much worse off than me. Yada yada yada..... This is not depression, or rational, or me needing cheered up. It's a simple longing for community. Is that so wrong? Well... yes, as a matter of fact, when it turns to resentment, it is. Ugh. I'm so tired.

I was feeling like this again yesterday on my way home from work, and that Tenth Avenue North song, I'm Worn, came on the radio. Yes! That song is so spot on.

Psalm 51:10-12
Create in me a clean heart, O God;
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence;
and take not your holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of your salvation;
and renew a right spirit within me.


[btw, I am aware that 'rong' is spelled wrong in the title]

Monday, June 29, 2015

Working for a living

This morning I had a couple Bible passages come to mind as I started my day.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters... It is the Lord Christ you are serving." (Col. 3:23-24)

"Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free." (Eph. 6:7-8)

It's true that I'm still not feeling all that great physically (some serious swollen glands and sore throat stuff), but I don't think that had all that much to do with why I didn't want to go to work. I really don't dislike what I actually do. Though there is a big difference between NOT disliking your work, and actually LIKING it. But I guess maybe it's more just a mental thing for me.

I've been told in the past that I can be moody. I am aware of that. As I have often said myself, "I'm not complicated, just difficult." But when it gets right down to it, I don't really think I am all that hard to get along with - or even to motivate. 

The thing is, I am a "words" person. What that means is... all I really need someone to do is to talk to me, and listen to me. That's about it. People who ignore me, or fail to respond to correspondence, or refuse to listen to what I'm saying... Yes, I can have a hard time getting along with. [ADDED LATER: Oh, and I forgot about being patronized. Patronize me and I become REALLY DIFFICULT.]

So, I guess what I was thinking this morning is... it's not really WHAT I do for work that is the issue, but WHO I work for or with that can create turmoil within me. That's why I have spent some time going over these two verses from Colossians and Ephesians today. It shouldn't bother me. It shouldn't; but it does. And on days like today I pray verses like this in hopes that God might grant me the strength to not say or do anything stupid.

Ironically, while I was just now typing this up, the BTO song, "Takin' Care of Business" came on the radio. Hahaha... 

You get up every morning
From your 'larm clock's warning
Take the 8:15 into the city
There's a whistle up above
And people pushin', people shovin'
And the girls who try to look pretty
And if your train's on time
You can get to work by nine
And start your slaving job to get your pay
If you ever get annoyed
Look at me I'm self-employed
I love to work at nothing all day
And I'll be

Taking care of business (every day)
Taking care of business (every way)
I've been taking care of business (it's all mine)
Taking care of business and working overtime

Such is life... :)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Storm, staple, sitting, and sick

What a weekend. It started with - you guessed it - yet another storm. We were completely unaware. We got up Saturday morning and headed to Zanesville for the Lions Club 5k. Water was everywhere, tree limbs were strewn about, stoplights were out... but it's kind of become normal anymore. So we show up in Zanesville and there isn't a soul to be found, not even a note on the door. We drove around town for awhile and finally realized they must have cancelled it due to the storm. Upon returning to Fort Wayne we realized there was quite a bit of damage.

Then we started getting texts from daughter Carrie that the youngest grandchild had smacked his head while falling off something. I guess it was bleeding pretty good and a neighbor who is a nurse suggested they take him to the ER. The poor little guy had to get one shiny stainless steel staple in his head. Word is he didn't even flinch when they shot it in. It kind of sticks up a little bit, and at first I kinda got the heeby-jeebies when I thought about it. You know, how for some reason it makes you need to cross your legs -like someone has punched you in the gut, or, more precisely the "privates." I finally got over it, and it still doesn't seem to bother him at all.

Of course this was our weekend to babysit all three grandkids overnight. They were perfectly fine, as usual. Jane watched the kids when Carrie took Caleb to the ER. Then she brought him home and Carrie took the older two to a birthday party. She dropped them off after the party. Fortunately we have plenty of space in our house to deal with the miserable weather outside. Anna and Bennett like riding their tricycles around in circles in the house. So we survived. Caleb went to bed around 7:30 and got up at 5:30. He slept in the pack-n-play in our room. For some reason Anna wanted to sleep in the end room on the big bed where Bennett slept in the old crib. They were probably in bed around 9, and got up around 7:30.

Unfortunately I have felt like crap all weekend. I woke up with a sore throat and feeling "clammy" Saturday morning. I keep going back and forth between freezing chills and a burning sweat. I was hoping I would feel better today - and I have moments of relief - but mostly I ache all over, my throat feels raw, and I just can't get my temperature regulated. Ugh. I hate being sick like this. It's one of those "I'm never going to feel normal again" sicknesses for me. So, I'm thankful I was able to deal with the kid's. Even though I went to bed when Caleb did last night, and I wasn't much help to Jane. Hopefully they don't end up with it too.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

It's times like this I'm glad I'm not

There are many things I miss about no longer being in a church leadership position, but after the ruling yesterday legalizing same-sex marriage... I am glad I am not. I don't need to have a public opinion on the subject. Therefore I don't need to offend or alienate anyone in the process of trying to explain, support, or oppose. Oh, sure, you could say that I should take a stand simply because I'm a follower of Jesus, or a person with blood running through my veins... But I disagree. I can rejoice with those who rejoice, and mourn with those in mourning. Maybe I always could, but I am relieved that there is no expectation for anything placed on my head.

And, really, that's about all I have to say on the subject. Other than I think it's interesting watching so many people be so passionate about it - who otherwise really have nothing to gain or lose by it. It's also interesting reading Facebook posts from some of my "young-ish" friends with differing levels of theological training try to explain how they used to feel different, but now - in all their new-found wisdom - they have come to know the truth. :) Hmm... So I wonder if in 20 years they will learn a new truth?

Anyway, I don't know, and I don't have to. It's a rainy day; I'm supposed to be running a 5k in less than an hour; and I can do whatever I darn well please.

Peace out; and in.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Some of my favorite things

I was searching for a song and stumbled across the old music playlist thing I used to have on my sidebar. These are some of my all-time favorite songs - not necessarily to play, but at least listen to. I've always been going to compile a list of 4 or 5 songs to learn to play sorta well. A couple of these might make that list.

Anyway, in no particular order:

  • All That I Can Say - David Crowder Band
  • Into The Mystic - Van Morrison
  • Angel From Montgomery - John Prine
  • Somewhere Within - Jason & the Scorchers
  • Cortez The Killer - Neil Young
  • Nice Day - Tommy Womack
  • Peace - Rich Mullins
  • Three Little Birds - Bob Marley
  • Blue Jean Blues - ZZ Top

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Your welco

No, that's not a typo. It's not supposed to say "You're welcome." Your Welco is another endeavor I am pondering... Your Wellness Coach. And, yes, the 'Welco' does remind me of 'Wilco.' Is there a problem with that??? ;)

For now it's just a thought. However, it occurred to me that, while I can do leadership coaching, that is maybe not where my greatest interests are. Personally, I am interested in physical fitness, mental conditioning, and spiritual health. In my opinion, that's really what all of life is about. So why not be a whole-life coach? I think 'wellness coaching' should encompass physical, mental and spiritual health; body, mind and soul. I think when someone says, "I would like to get my act together"... that's how you do that - you address all three facets of life. And I think I could help people do that.

So, what about Elevate Coaching? Not a problem. It's just another piece of the puzzle for me. As is my training in meditation therapy, the spiritual disciplines, running and healthy eating.

I suppose it would help for me to get a few degrees or certifications in some various other things (besides my biblical & coaching degrees/certificates). One thing I would like to explore is Yoga. I think that could be beneficial, though I would prefer a more Christian strain than traditional yoga practices and beliefs.

I also realize there are a ton of people already doing this type of thing. But who knows... I'm just thinking about it. It seems to make sense for me. Plus they always say the best way to learn something is to teach it...

We'll see.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

What's with all this... work

My job is almost starting to seem like... a job. Ugh. I've been extra busy lately, and I don't like it. Not one bit.

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little. Still, I've been quite busy at work the past couple weeks. It's a busy time, plus there's just a lot going on right now. I am out of several sizes of units and people keep calling for more, so I get stressed about perhaps making promises I can't keep. Plus I've been trying to rearrange company units and whatnot to better utilize space. And some days it seems like the phone never stops ringing.

I'm not complaining, but I could use a few really slow days. I need to get some of my 'other stuff' done while I'm at work! I planned to write a couple blog posts today, as well as do some reading. Not going to happen. Plus my back hurts. I had to move a bunch of steel and bags of cement. Ugh. I'm getting too old (and soft) for this type of work.

Anyway, lots of things have been going on in my mind. I just need some time to get them through my fingertips. One of these days...